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ESPN, TNT Pursuing Wayne Gretzky

ESPN has a history of pursuing big names for it’s NFL coverage. Unfortunately, it also has a history of striking out. The brass in Bristol hopes to change that pattern when it comes to hockey. The Athletic reports the network is trying to sign Wayne Gretzky to be a part of its NHL coverage.

According to Sean Shapiro, ESPN bosses have had multiple meetings with “The Great One.” The good news is that the network was not told the answer is “no”.

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There may be some pressure to get a deal done with Gretzky quickly. Turner announced that NBC’s top play-by-play team of Kenny Albert and Eddie Olczyk will assume the same roles at TNT when it takes over the NHL’s “B” package. On top of that, Turner would like to have Gretzky for their own broadcast crew according to Front Office Sports’ Michael McCarthy.

A bidding war seems to be on the horizon. McCarthy sites an agent (not Gretzky’s) that speculates it would take “millions upon millions” to get Gretzky to take a job on TV.

Wayne Gretzky is still involved with the Edmonton Oilers. He serves as an alternate governor for the team. Whether or not that affects his interest in a broadcasting role is unknown.

While no hires have been made, ESPN is expected to add Ray Ferraro from TSN as a game analyst. The network has reportedly also shown interest in former journeyman goaltender Kevin Weekes, who is currently with the NHL Network.

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